Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic days of the year, so it certainly makes sense that people choose the holiday to pop the big question. The last time American Express published its Spending and Saving Tracker, a whopping six million people planned to propose or expected a proposal on Valentine’s Day. While that number likely fluctuates year to year, the holiday remains the second most popular day to get engaged (after Christmas, of course).
If you’re planning to make February 14th extra special this year, rest assured that while you definitely won’t be the only person asking your S.O. to marry you, there’s still plenty of ways to make the proposal unique. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite ideas, below, including several from top wedding industry experts. Hey, why not go RIGHT to the source?
Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse for a quick vacation, and what better place to propose than on top of a ski lift surrounded by mountains, snow, and trees?
Dinner at Home
Restaurants are incredibly crowded on Valentine’s Day. Instead of making reservations weeks in advance just to have to yell across the table because it’s so loud, opt for a candlelit dinner at home. Prepare a special meal yourself or even consider hiring a chef!
Faux Galentine’s Day Dinner
Allenbrooke Farms‘ Stephanie Allen recommends teaming up with your partner’s best friends to plan a Galentine’s party that you’ll eventually crash. “There’s no one who knows you better than your soon-to-be fiancé than your best friends who can ensure he/she is set up for a successful surprise!” Allen says. “Having the person who is planning to propose coordinate with your best friends for a faux Galentine’s Day dinner is the perfect excuse to go have a spa day and indulge in a fresh mani (because of course if you’re going to show off a new ring, no one wants chipped nails!), and then finish the day with a delicious dinner and cocktails to celebrate with your gals, until the twist of events takes place…instead of showing up to a restaurant with all of your besties ready to dine and sip and champagne, your significant other is there at a private table to surprise you and pop the question! (Then, of course – cue, all your besties who have been hiding out at the bar to pop some champagne and celebrate with you!).”
Big Night Out
If you want to avoid staying in, The Diamond Reserve‘s Kaeleigh Testwuide recommends going all out. “Book a one night stay at your city’s fanciest and most romantic hotel that has a beautiful rooftop view. Tell your significant other you will be picking them up after work to head to a Valentine’s Day dinner, but instead have a black car pick the up filled with roses in the backseat! Have the driver bring them to the hotel where the concierge will then instruct them to head to the rooftop where you are waiting!” Testwuide says. “Surrounded by your cities beautiful skyline be waiting for your love’s arrival. There you can get on one knee ask the biggest question of your life ‘Will you marry me?’ Following your proposal have a dinner reservation at the hotel capped off by champagne and dessert in your room! This make for the most unforgettably romantic evening and a first class proposal!”
A Simple Gift with a Ring
Instead of going overboard, surprise your S.O. by giving them a downplayed gift — think a box of chocolates, a handmade card, or a bouquet of flowers — that has a ring or something that reads “Will you marry me?” inside.
“Pop” the Question
Who doesn’t love a good theme? Euri Wong, lead designer at Bloominous, suggests having incorporating things that “pop” throughout the day or evening. “Do fun things like a popping balloon game and blow bubbles in crazy shapes, serve popcorn, soda pop, and popovers, play pop music,” Wong says. “At the end of the party, complete it with popping the question!”
Put those colored chalky candy hearts that seem to be everywhere on Valentine’s Day to good use. While the famous Sweethearts Candy Hearts made by Necco won’t be on shelves this year since the company abruptly closed in 2018, there’s still plenty of (pretty identical) alternatives. Try to get creative with the candy hearts, even if it’s just by creating a trail of them that leads to you waiting with a sign that mimics the sweet treat.
Botanica International Design Studio‘s Zoe Gallina recommends focusing on the little things. “Including details that are customized to that couple’s relationship and/or includes little things that reflect the idiosyncrasies of that person will make for an extra special proposal,” she says. “For example, you could start the day with a scavenger hunt of little notes that takes the person to locations in their city that have special meaning to them, a local coffee shop, where you had your first date, where you first kissed, etc. and you finish at the proposal destination. But because family has such a special meaning to most, after the proposal is done, you can go to a restaurant filled with their closest friends and family!”
A Day Full of Love Letters
Write a bunch of love letters ahead of time and have your partner read them throughout the day. For example, place one on their nightstand, have a co-worker deliver another, and so on. Then, at the end of their day, hand deliver the final letter that asks them to marry you!
If you and your S.O. are into fitness, pop the question on the run — literally. Jenna Miller, the creative director at Here Comes the Guide, suggests signing the two of you up for a Valentine’s Day 10K. “Not only will you get to spend lots of pre-race training time with your partner, but when you propose at the finish line you’ll both feel like winners,” Miller says. “Invite friends and family to greet you at the finish line with signs that say ‘Congratulations!’ or ‘He/She Said YES!’ It’s the perfect, built-in excuse to have all your loved ones there to watch—and photograph! —the big moment. After you’ve stepped away from the other racers, take that ring out (of the zippered pocket or compartment where it was securely hidden), get down on one knee, and finally say those four, indelible words… It will surely be a moment the two of you will never forget!”